movie trailer (apple.com - quicktime)
NOTE: This spoiler was sent in by sorakirei who says... "I enjoyed this film. It was a bit cheesy, and some things were quite obvious, but it was still fun. Good matinee, just don't pay full price for it. Now I must read the Michael Crichton novel to see what really happened."
A timeline appears, and the numbers shift to letters stating the studios presenting the film. [I know this is a pointless detail but it was a neat stylistic choice for the few opening credits.] There is a man running thru a forest being chased by armored men on horseback. A hard cut to modern day and a man driving a car thru the desert. A few cuts back and forth between the past and present. A sword slashes the running man just as he disappears and reappears in front of the other man's car.
Another hard cut to a hospital. The running man is flat lining. A doctor is attempting to start the man's heart again. Unfortunately the man dies. The doctors are totally puzzled as to why the man died. They examine X-rays, MRI's etc. They notice that many of the veins and arteries are "severed" almost as if this man had been pieced back together. Soon after the death Frank Gordon (Neal McDonough), an employee of International Technology Corporation (ITC), arrives to pick up the body. The cops are accommodating. Frank receives a phone call from ITC while he's waiting. He is told to get everything regarding the dead man.
Cut to a close shot of a model with figures on it. Professor Edward Johnston (Billy Connolly) is giving a history lesson to his archeological team. He recounts a time when the English and the French were fighting over the village of Castlegard and its surroundings. The village had been burned, and massive battle occurred at La Roque Castle. Even though the English were strong the French defeated the English. Andre Marek (Gerard Butler) chimes in. He tells the tale of Lady Claire, the sister of Arnaut de Cervole. She was hung by the English at the castle in full view of the French. This so enraged the French that they won the battle against the English.
After the little history lesson, the students return to their archeological duties. This band of people are in the Dordogne Valley of France, excavating a 14th century castle and surrounding areas. Prof. Johnston is ironing some shirts when his son Chris (Paul Walker) stops by to have a talk. Apparently, theirs lives have been a bit chaotic. A lot of moving due to different projects the Prof has been involved in. Chris professes curiosity at what his father is up to. Apparently his father does something crazy when he talks about shaving his beard. [I don't remember the Prof. Mentioning he was going to shave. Moving on.] We also discover that Chris is not a big fan of archeology. He's really only hanging around because of his affections for Kate (Frances O'Connor). We also find out that ITC has been funding this archeological project and the information the Prof. has been receiving lately is what is prompting his trip.
Kate is crammed into a passageway, happily digging away listening to music. Chris approaches with two beers. He startles her and spills one of the beers. Kate takes a break and they have a little heart to heart. In a cute moment, Chris offers Kate the full beer and takes the half empty bottle. He fails at being smooth stating something like "I hoped you would notice [my affections]" and Kate immediately replies "I was hoping you would notice [the lack of interest]".
Chris rides a fancy motorcycle to a hillside and meets Marek there. They are discussing a sarcophagus that has been uncovered. Marek is fascinated by it. The carving is of a one-eared man and a woman holding hands. He also inquires as to Chris' attempt to speak to Kate. Chris relays his failure. They then have a discussion about the past. Chris does not care for the past at all. Archeology had kept his life and family in chaos for years and he has a great distaste for it. Of course Marek loves the past, mentioning how "One makes their own history" and that we can learn a lot from the past. This little chat is interrupted by much excitement at another site of the excavation.
Everyone gathers at a point. A chamber in the monastery has been found. Kate and Marek eagerly are lowered into the cavern. They are so excited and giddy. The place hasn't been seen in over 600 years. Marek finds a document box. Kate quickly bags the parchment. Kate notices a beautiful painting on the wall that is for the most part damaged beyond repair and says "What son of a bitch would destroy something so beautiful." Marek agrees, but unfortunately a small cave-in starts. Kate and Marek rush back to their ropes but Marek notices a glasses lens on the ground and snags it before he leaves.
The find of the parchment is excellent, but there is something really strange. Stern (Ethan Embry), another of the members of the archeological team, finds on the parchment a small note from Prof. Johnston dated April 2, 1357 pleading for help. The signature matches exactly and the carbon dating states the ink is centuries old. The lens Marek found is a modern day glasses lens. They are all certain no one has been down in that chamber for centuries. The glass lens prescription is confirmed to be from the Prof. Johnston's and Kate mentions that the Prof took a spare pair of glasses on his trip. Everyone is extremely curious how the lens got there and are sure that the Prof. would not have played a joke by planting the lens there.
Chris is angry and contacts ITC. A brief phone call later, a plane is being sent to pick them up. Chris, Kate, Marek, Stern, and François (Rossif Sutherland) ride the private plane to New Mexico where ITC is located. After being shuffled thru security they all learn that ITC has been developing a method to revolutionize shipping, a device that could transmit three-dimensional objects through space. Stern, a gifted scientist, chimes in about the impossibility. Then the analogy of "faxing a person" is discussed. ITC tried to send an object to a sister site in New York but the object never arrived there. Using cameras, ITC discovered that objects were being sent to 14th century France. ITC had been funding the archeological project in the hopes of discovering why things were being sent there. It's also revealed that a few ITC people have gone to the past. Stern is highly bothered by breaking down a person to the molecular level and then being pieced back together. Despite people being amazed and worried about this "faxing" machine, ITC confesses the "true" reason why they were all brought there.
The device is somehow attached to a wormhole. They don't know how it happened, it just did. The Professor insisted on going to the past. Frank failed to bring the Prof back. He cannot stay in the past, and must be retrieved. ITC needs to send back people who know the history and the land. Military people wouldn't have the slightest idea where to find the Prof, and time is short. Robert Doniger (David Thewlis) and Steven Kramer (Matt Craven) convince most of the group that they need to go. Stern refuses. Marek convinces François to accompany them as a translator since he speaks French fluently. Doniger insists that Frank lead the group instead of the two marines that are slated to go. Frank protests but finally agrees.
Everyone dresses in 14th century clothes. They are all given a marker. It's a pendant that looks period but is actually a device that will allow them to return home by pressing it. The marker will also show how much time they have to stay there. Kramer takes François? glasses, since strict rules prohibit people from taking modern things with them. They are also informed that there is an amount of pain involved in the process but it should be over quickly. The lot of them eventually enters the machine, a large device with lots of mirrors. Frank briefly introduces everyone to the two marines that are joining them and will help to protect everyone. Stern joins Doniger and Kramer in the control booth. The machine starts; the mirrors close, sealing the machine. Everyone tenses and starts to scream and in a puff of smoke they are gone.
Everyone seems to have rematerialized in a river. They struggle to get ashore. Not long after they get their footing someone is running thru the woods yelling in French for people to hide. François translates and everyone scatters. English soldiers are chasing that someone. In their attempts to hide, one of the marines is slashed to death by a knight. An archer shoots the other marine. Despite the "strict" rules about no modern devices, this marine has a grenade. He pulls the pin, presses his marker, but is shot to death just as he is being transported back to the machine.
The marine reappears on the machine pierced by three arrows. He collapses on the platform. Before anyone can get to him, his dead hand drops the grenade, totally destroying the machine. Of course Doniger is angry at the violation. Stern is worried how everyone is going to get back. Kramer says they have five and a half hours to fix it and bring everyone back.
Back in 14th century France, the party is hiding from the English. Marek distracts some of the knights to help Chris and Kate to escape. Marek finds a hiding spot under the roots of a tree and runs into the person who had been running. Turns out it's a girl. They hide, the girl is grabbed from the hiding spot, Marek gets a sword and saves the girl by slaying the knight. After the English abandon their search the girl leads the group to the village of Castleguard.
While sneaking around Castleguard, they discover that it is the exact day when Castleguard is burned, Lady Claire is murdered and the French defeat the English. No surprisingly, the party is apprehended by the English as the girl manages to escape. They are all brought to Sir Oliver d Vannes (Michael Sheen). He questions who they are. Marek speaks for the group stating they are from Scotland, and that their master was Johnston and he was unaware that they were following him. Sir Oliver is confused by the appearance of all these Scotts. But then he points a finger at François, since he is very tall. Unfortunately, his French accent betrays him and Oliver is upset. Marek tries to assure Oliver, that François is their trusted companion and translator. Oliver says something in French and insists that François translate. Frank or was it Marek, order François to remain silent. The poor guy cracks and whispers the translation "I am a spy." Oliver insists that François speak up, and eventually he does. Oliver is pleased and runs his sword thru François. Chris lunges for Oliver, Marek shields the fool begging for mercy. Oliver locks Kate, Chris, Frank, and Marek in the attic.
Apparently this is where the Professor has been. The only reason the Professor is alive is he promised to make Greek Fire for the English. If you are unaware, Greek Fire is a substance that burns, but when you add water it creates more flame instead of extinguishing the fire. The lot of them plans an escape. Kate climbs out thru the straw roof and eventually gets to a window. She steals an arrow and kills an unsuspecting guard. She releases the others just as a second guard returns. They begin to make their escape, quickly grabbing weapons. Marek grabbing the bow and arrows by the window notices that the English captured the girl. He insists that he will meet up with everyone later.
Frank, Chris, Kate and the Prof run away to an open area. Apparently, the marker can only be activated in an open area. The marker isn't working. They begin to argue since Frank is trying to leave without Marek. Their argument attracts attention and they have to run again. They try hiding in a hut but are discovered. They become separated. Frank and the Prof are apprehended. Chris and Kate run into another hut. The English burn it as Frank and the Prof assume the two die in the blaze of course they escape.
Marek finds where the girl is being held captive. He shoots the guard, but after the guard yells for help. Marek is attacked by a burly guard and ends up in the room with the girl. They quickly work to break the wall and escape before the guard axes his way thru the door. They manage to escape.
Chris and Kate run thru the forest, and have a discussion about what to do. People have been losing their markers, others have died, and they just don't know what's going on. Eventually it dawns on Kate, the last thing she had been working on back at the dig site was a passage that most likely lead from the monastery to the castle. It must be the only way to get inside and save the Prof.
Marek somehow found a small floating thing to hide the girl in while he hangs on and paddles them down the river. They have a small chat. In short this is where Marek falls for the girl. They hear some soldiers and hurry to shore. They meet up with Frenchmen, one of which is the commander and brother. He is overjoyed to be reunited with his sister Claire. Marek, realizes he has drastically changed history by rescuing Claire from the English. Arnaut de Cervole (Lambert Wilson, Merovingian from the Matrix) thanks Marek for saving his sister. Marek begs for a weapon and a horse to return to the village to look for his companions. An English spy overhears the French preparations. They eventually attack the French caravan, manage to recapture Claire, and they also capture Merak.
Frank and the Prof are tied to a wagon and walk along. The captured Marek is dumped into the back of the cart. A knight rides up to them, who turns out to be DeKere, a former ITC employee and someone Frank left behind. Deker had taken Marek's marker, throws it away and then kills Frank. DeKere also mentions that he's traveled too many times back and forth that he knows he would not survive a trip back. He has made a life for himself in the 14th century.
Kate and Chris make it to the monastery and frantically search for the tunnel. They find the document box and the Professor's glasses. They put the glasses back, because if they don't they won't find them in the future. Then Kate realizes that she was the "son of a bitch that destroyed something so beautiful." They destroy the wall and begin to climb.
The Professor and Marek are sent to work on making Greek Fire for Sir Oliver. The battle between the French and the English begins.
Archers, flaming pots of oil, and eventually Greek Fire are shot back and forth. Oliver is pleased with the Greek Fire and orders more. After a being assaulted by "night arrows" the French briefly retreat. One of the priests informs Arnaut de Cervole of the tunnel in the monastery. He and a bunch of knights rush off.
The battle continues. Kate and Chris reach a dead end. The French knights begin their accent into the tunnel. Marek sees that the English are about to hang Claire. He commands that Sir Oliver release Claire or he will torch the area where the Greek Fire was being manufactured. The French reach the dead end and accuse Kate and Chris of being traitors. Oliver refuses to free Claire. Marek torches the arsenal creating a giant explosion. This explosion opens the dead ended tunnel.
The French start winning the battle and storm the castle. Marek runs to save Claire and has a duel with DeKere. The Prof managed to survive the explosion and meets up with Kate and Chris. In the battle, DeKere axes off Marek's ear and he realizes the sarcophagus from the dig was of him and Claire. "It's me," he says despite the bleeding. He also manages to kill DeKere. Marek removes a marker from DeKere and gives it to Chris. Chris beckons Marek to go back with them, but Marek says he'll stay.
In between all this action in the past (I can't remember where all the cuts were), Kramer, Stern and Doniger have been working to repair the machine. They have only achieved 81% efficiency from the power coils. Doniger says it's a lost cause. Kramer and Stern insist things can still work. Doniger and Kramer have a fight and Kramer is knocked unconscious. Stern locks Doniger out of the control room. Doniger heads to the machine and attempts to disable the coils. Stern hurries after him.
Kate, Chris and the Professor gather together outside of the castle desperately trying to activate the marker to return before some English soldiers attack them. The machine activates. Doniger is trapped inside without a marker meaning he has no way of returning. Just as Doniger disappears, the three survivors arrive back in the present. Stern is dismayed that François and Marek are missing.
Back at the archeological dig, the Professor, Kate and Chris, with a newfound interest in the past, continue working on the site. The lot of them gather around the sarcophagus and read the inscription about Marek, Lady Claire and brief history listing their children including a son named François.